Stanford University

Courtesy of King of Hearts, Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0

#9 - Stanford University
Fiscal 2013 NIH funding:
$357.81 million
Fiscal 2012 NIH funding: $341.78 million
Change in funding: $16.03 million
Number of awards in 2013: 828
Number of awards in 2012: 756

Using a bioinformatics method involving a computerized discovery pipeline, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine last year found a possible new treatment for a deadly kind of lung cancer. Two little-used, FDA-approved antidepressants--imipramine and promethazine--were identified as having cancer-fighting abilities in cell cultures and animal models of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Both drugs triggered a mechanism in place in cancer cells that caused them to die off. The drugs were also effective in mice with human SCLC that had become resistant to the chemotherapy drug.

In other drug repurposing research, Stanford scientists tested an FDA-approved medication for asthma in mice with an animal version of Down syndrome. The drug, formoterol, strengthened nerve connections in the hippocampus--the part of the brain responsible for spatial navigation, attention span and forming new memories--and improved contextual learning. In the journal Biological Psychiatry, the researchers also observed more synapses and a more complex structure of dendrites--the nerves' outgoing ends--in the hippocampus after mice were given formoterol.

Stanford scientists are also trying to understand the tuberculosis bacterium better, and in a study by an international team of researchers published last year, they detailed what is believed to be the most comprehensive regulatory map of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The 5-year project maps the network of genes that control the TB bacterium in hopes that it will help scientists develop new drugs to combat strains of drug-resistant TB, which are becoming more common around the world.

For more:
Antidepressants could provide new way to treat deadly lung cancer
Asthma drug could restore cognitive decline in Down syndrome
Scientists create first regulatory map of tuberculosis

Stanford University
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